This post was originally published on Defender Network

By Aswad Walker

The national and even global activism that was inspired by the murder of Houston native George Floyd by a former Minneapolis police officer facilitated a number of corporations, media outlets, public and private universities and governmental entities to pledge all manner of actions to fight for criminal justice reform. And some made good on their promises.

Unfortunately, that “some” was in the minority. And the fact that many of those entities fell wildly short of their monetary and action-related pledges is one story that has been documented by several news and media rooms.

However, what’s not discussed as much is the fact that several states responded to the “Summer of George Floyd” by moving in the opposite direction. In other words, instead of taking actions to rectify historic and generational discriminatory and unjust policies, laws, systems, traditions and behaviors, state legislatures offered a backlash of laws doubling down on police behaviors deemed oppressive and racist.

Lawmakers in the Lone Star State, for example, enacted anti-protester laws and moved to expand legal protections of law enforcement officers who already enjoy what some community activists call a “Get our of jail free” card in the form of “qualified immunity.”

In addition, Republicans in the Texas Legislature are working to pass legislation to protect police officers from legal action when they use Taser stun guns or bean bag projectiles that often cause serious injuries.

And if that weren’t enough, Texas governor Greg Abbott underscored this movement by calling for a pardon of convicted murderer Daniel Perry who shot and killed an individual involved in an Austin protest against police misconduct.

The Defender asked readers about their opinions on the matter: “Did the ‘Summer of George Floyd’ bring about more positive change in the criminal justice system or more negative backlash?”

Here’s What Our Readers Said:

Both. The demon is shrieking because it’s being exorcised.

Dr. Earle J. Fisher

Mix. There were so many people that I know who are very moderate, or in the middle or not paying attention. That summer changed a lot of people for positive change. And I do think we experienced a GOP backlash, as well.

Dorita Hatchett

Mostly GOP backlash. It appears to me that all of the talk about police reform was performative. I’ve neither seen nor heard of any actual reforms, especially ones that could actually work. The “justice” system has not slowed down its attacks on Black people at all. As my father always said “They are the army of occupation.” Why would we expect any change from what they’ve been doing for 400+ years? Their assignment has always been to surveil, control and terrorize our people.

Imani Karega

GOP backlash. There is one ideology of reform that never made it to national conversations because it doesn’t abolish the accountability system but it would lead to a restorative justice system

Koretta Brown

The protests following the unfortunate passing of George Floyd (I don’t know if we can call it a murder because I’ve read the drugs he took voluntarily actually killed him) showed that we need more, much more, protections for our fine civil servants in law enforcement. They put their lives on the line daily to protect our freedoms, but ungrateful people, many of them Black, throw more violence and insults their way. It’s these Blacks who are corrupting far too many young minds. I think the moves to ban critical race theory and the ideologues who teach that nonsense is a step in the right direction, so that universities don’t produce another generation of young minds so gullible that they think protesting the police will make our country safer.

Philester Johnston

You can call what these leaders and institutions are doing a “backlash,” i.e., harsher “punishments” for Negroes not remembering our “place.” But to me, it just looks like what they do all the time, treat us any way they want to and get away with it. They sometimes lighten up on the mistreatment. But that usually only lasts for a couple of months if that long. So, I don’t know if it’s a bashlash or just the same old song. But I know for sure, change is not what we’re experiencing right now.

Jason Tynes

I think initially we had some change, like while people were protesting by the hundreds and thousands. But then it seemed like the powers that be, whoever they are, said enough is enough. Now, it seems like there’s an actual war on Black people. It’s crazy. I’m seriously thinking about leaving America, for real.

Aleesha Aimes